SYRACUSE — Syracuse-Wawasee Park Foundation has received a permit to construct the boardwalk across the Conklin Bay wetlands and a trail parallel to SR 13 to Grandview Drive.
Notification of a permit approval for the trail was approved by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water, Friday, Dec. 30. The permit is valid for 24 months from the date it was issued.
According to Megan McClellan, executive director for the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee, “receiving the permit means that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources finds the construction of this boardwalk will have minimal negative impacts to the wetlands. These minimal impacts will be more than mitigated by the opportunities presented by the boardwalk to educate the public about a wetland habitat. The IDNR was especially happy to hear the boardwalk will be open to the public at no charge, will include environmental signage and will connect the town of Syracuse to the Levinson-LaBrosse Lakes & Wetlands Education Center on WACF’s property.”
The trail committee has hired Earth Source Inc., Fort Wayne, to design the boardwalk. “Now that they have a firm direction from the IDNR, they can complete the remaining design work. Earth Source plans to have construction drawings ready for bid in early 2017,” said McClellan, adding “The problem is that we do not want to receive bids on the project before we have the funding to move forward.”
The total estimated cost for the project is $1.7 million. That includes construction, oversight and a small maintenance fund. “So far we have raised about $216,000 including grants from the Miller Family Foundation and the Harkless Foundation as well as donations from the WPOA and many individuals,” said McClellan. “I am in the process of writing additional grants which, if received, will total over $1 million but we will still need many private donations. The trail committee is currently discussing different options for donor recognition. There is even the possibility of naming rights for a large donation.”
The nearly one-mile long trail will safely connect people to the WACF property. The trail will start where the current trail ends at Harkless Drive and SR 13. The proposed trail will go along the right of way on SR 13 to the area owned by WACF. At this point it will go into the wetlands a short way and then continue parallel to SR 13 until it reaches solid land (the WACF currently has a sign at that location). The trail will continue back toward SR 13 and run parallel to the highway on WACF property.
Upon reaching the property owned by the Dale Butt family, the trail will be installed on the SR 13 right of way until it reaches Grandview Drive.
According to McClellan one-third of the one-mile trail will be boardwalk, with the remaining two-thirds of a mile being cement trail/sidewalk.
The boardwalk is proposed to be 8 feet wide with wider areas where people can pull to the side and look at the wetlands and seen environmental signage, as well as one overlook that should get people out of the cattails.
Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee is part of the Syracuse-Wawasee Park Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for profit foundation. The committee is a volunteer advisory group helping coordinate the planning, construction and maintenance of local trails located on town and county property.
Those who would like to donate to this or any project on the Syracuse-Wawasee trails, donations can be mailed to the Syracuse-Wawasee Park Foundation, 1013 N. Long Drive, Syracuse, IN 46567. Individuals can also donate online through the trail’s secure website.
To learn more individuals can email McClellan at [email protected].